What’s in a Barnet pub name?

Author Sam Cullen on some of the most intriguingly named boozers in the local area

Ye Olde Monken Holt in Hadley (Credit- Google Street View)

The most recent pub audit carried out by the GLA and published late last month found there are 80 pubs across the borough of Barnet. In amongst the obviously named pubs like the Prince of Wales and the Queens Arms, there are also several with more original and intriguing names. These pubs feature in the book I wrote with my friend James Potts called What’s in a London Pub Name – revealing the stories behind the names of 656 London Pubs, with Barnet pubs featuring in the mix.

I’ve chosen selection of the best-named pubs in and around Barnet to whet your appetite:

Lord Kitchener in New Barnet (Credit – Google Street View)

Lord Kitchener
49 East Barnet Road, New Barnet, EN4 8RN

Herbert Kitchener became the Secretary of State for War in 1914, at the start of World War One. His portrait is famous for being on the army recruitment poster (where he is pictured pointing at the reader saying he wants you) which was instrumental in signing up soldiers at the start of the war.

The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead (Credit – Google Street View)

Spaniards Inn
Spaniards Road, Hampstead, NW3 7JJ

Located just on the Barnet side of the border with Camden, no one is quite sure why the Spaniards has its name. A number of theories suggested include it being run by two Spanish brothers, it was previously the home of the Spanish Ambassador or even the Spanish Embassy itself.  It is one of London’s most well-known pubs and has counted such literary legends as William Blake, Robert Louis Stephenson and Mary Shelley as visitors over the years as well as popping up in books like Charles Dickens Pickwick Papers.

The King of Prussia
363 Regents Park Road, N3 1DH

This pub in Finchley Central is on the site of an earlier pub with the same name. When it first opened in 1759, Prussia’s King Frederick had supported Britain against the French three years previously, in the process becoming revered in this country.  The pub was renamed on the eve of World War One with the diplomatic situation turned on its head given the hostilities that were about to start with Germany and rechristened as the much more patriotic sounding King George.  The original pub was demolished in the 1960s and replaced by an office block with a restaurant downstairs.  It returned to being a pub in 2019 and the owner then made a nice nod to the past by reinstating the King of Prussia name.

Ye Olde Monken Holt
193 High Street, Hadley, Barnet EN5 5SU

The last opportunity to have a tipple in the borough before leaving Barnet and crossing into Hertfordshire, the area around the pub has a connection with monks.  A holt is a small wood, primarily for animals. The Battle of Barnet in 1471, which took place just to the north of where the pub stands,  was a key victory for the Yorkists during the War of the Roses.

The King & Tinker
Whitewebbs Lane, Enfield EN2 9HN

Just over the borough border, King James I went hunting in Enfield before being separated from his entourage. He decided to grab a pint at this very pub and struck up a conversation with a tinker. Unaware of who he was talking to, the tinker asked who he was. James replied saying it would only be revealed when everyone else was hatless, leaving the tinker puzzled. When the king’s men caught up with him, they immediately removed their hats and the tinker realised who his new drinking buddy was.

If you like what you’ve read here,  What’s in a London Pub Nam is in stock in Barnet’s Waterstones, as well as being available directly via the publishers Capital History as well as many other bookshops across London and online retailers.

It’s the perfect companion to your next pub visit!

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